Coronavirus: U.S. Reliance on China Spurs Plastic Bottle Shortage

AP Photo/Ben Margot
AP Photo/Ben Margot

The United States’ reliance on China and Canada for plastic lids and bottles is trickling down into a shortage of high-demand hand sanitizer for Americans in the midst of the Chinese coronavirus crisis.

A report by Bloomberg details how American manufacturers are ramping up production of hand sanitizer but do not have enough plastic bottles or lids to keep up with demand.

Bloomberg reported:

According to the companies making the alcohol-based hand cleaner, higher production isn’t translating into more supply in part because there aren’t enough of the plastic bottles to package it. A key compound used in the process is also in short supply. [Emphasis added]

To cope with a “flood of new demand,” plastic-container producer Berry Global Group Inc. increased capacity at its North Carolina facility by 33% in March. The manufacturer is running production around the clock at all of its facilities to fulfill orders for flip-top closures and plastic bottles … spokeswoman Amy Waterman said. [Emphasis added]

But higher output doesn’t mean there’s a greater supply of plastic, because food production … is also ramping up… [Emphasis added]

Data from 2017 reveals that the U.S. is the largest importer of plastic bottles and lids. The U.S. imports about 14 percent of the world’s plastic bottles and 68 percent of all plastic bottles just in North America.

About 34 percent of the plastic bottles imported to the U.S. are made in China and 28 percent are made in Canada. Mexico and South Korea each make about eight to six percent of the plastic bottles that are imported to the U.S.

Similarly, the U.S. is the largest importer of plastic lids. More than 30 percent of U.S.-bound plastic lids are made in China. Another 22 percent are made in Canada, and 12 percent are made in Mexico.

Today, the U.S. imports about $1.1 billion worth of plastic bottles and $7.5 billion worth of plastic lids every year. Compare that to 1995 when the U.S. imported only about $73.5 million worth of plastic bottles and $870 million worth of plastic lids.

The scarcity of plastic bottles in the U.S. is just the latest necessity that has exposed the nation’s crippling reliance on foreign countries through a 30-year free trade agenda.

Similarly, about 80 percent of pharmaceuticals imported to the U.S. arrive from Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, India, Denmark, Belgium, Canada, United Kingdom, and Japan. Around 80 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients imported to the U.S. arrive from China and India, and 95 percent of ibuprofen and 70 percent of acetaminophen imported to the U.S. arrive from China.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.


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